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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > KEEN Womens Marshall Mid boots > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

KEEN MARSHALL MID BOOT
November 26, 2013

BY KATHLEEN WATERS
KEEN Logo

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 62
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: KEEN, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.keenfootwear.com
MSRP: US $120.00
Listed Weight: 12.5 oz (354 g) - each, based on women's size 7
Measured Weight: 13 oz (369 g) - each, based on women's size 8
Sizes Available: 5 through 11 women's, including half sizes
Size Reviewed: 8 women's
Colors Available/Reviewed: Blue Indigo/Tawny Olive

Construction Materials: (from manufacturer's website)
Lining: Moisture wicking textile
Upper: Textile
Outsole: Non-marking solid rubber

Other Details: (from manufacturer's website)
* Breathable open 3D mesh
* Lightweight synthetic overlays
* Removable EVA footbed
* 4mm multi directional lugs
* TPU stability shank
* Durable high-rebound PU Midsole
KEEN Marshall Mid Boot
Picture Courtesy of KEEN, Inc.

FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE

I've had the pleasure of wearing the KEEN Marshall Mid Boots for about four months now. While that may not sound like a terribly long period of time, I have probably worn them more in that period of time and put more miles/kilometers on them than normal as I have worn them at least 2-3 days a week (sometimes, more). Really!

I currently live on a construction site (finally, we are building our house!) and that means, at best, dirt. At worst, that means mud. Not to mention, nails, boards, holes and uneven dirt! So, my footwear for all this summer/fall has been boots and generally wool socks. No cute, little strappy sandals for me, no sir! And that's just everyday wear. Of course, I also don socks and boots for weekly hiking/backpacking trips as well. On backpacking trips, rarely did my pack weight exceed 20 lb (9 kg).

Since I wanted to evaluate the Marshalls over this summer/early fall, I deliberately wore them often. I counted 35 days with these boots on my feet and I estimate over 210 miles (338 km) traveled.

Almost all my forays were in southern Colorado, except for a short stint in Utah where I was able to get in a short (3 miles/5 km) evening hike during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The weather was mostly hot and when it wasn't hot, it was hotter! Rarely, over the summer months had the daytime temperature fallen below 85 F (29 C) and very often it was well over 100 F (38 C). Fortunately, thanks to our high desert climate, the nighttime cools down to the low 60s F (Teens C). However, in just the last two weeks, the weather has been more seasonal and we have had daytime lows in the mid-60s F (Teens C) and nighttime lows to just about freezing.
Collegiate Peaks Trail
Beautiful day in the Collegiate Mountain Range
On Trail
KEEN Marshalls on trail.

Other than casual wear, all of my backpacking and hiking took place on rough terrain, whether bushwhacking in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property behind our property or on established trails in state or national parks lands. This entailed packed dirt, scree, granite slabs, loose rocks and boulders and oh yeah, mud, along with cactus and other prickly "hitch-hiker" vegetation.

The Marshalls performed well in all areas. I barely noticed them on my feet while tramping around in the valley, but was acutely aware of their support when I needed grip climbing up our very steep mini-cliffs. The boots with their generous toe rand saved my toes from total destruction via the sometimes house-sized boulders and all the bowling ball-sized ones as well. I'm not the most graceful hiker and while gaping around at the scenery, I very often smashed into inanimate hard objects! Thanks to the Marshalls, nary a bruised toenail to be had.

Because I am such a klutz, I almost always wear boots that are mid-height to protect my ankles when I inevitably trip over that tree root that suddenly, magically appears. With some boots, the mid-height causes painful hot spots from rubbing my skin (even through heavy socks). Not so with the Marshalls. At no time was I ever aware of any adverse contact with the cuff of the boots. And I always felt very secure in the cuffs' support of my ankles.
Tread of Marshalls
To continue my discussion of support, the insoles of the Marshalls are more or less standard stock insoles. For me, they were adequate for day hiking with a light day pack. With many boots, I have difficulty with the arch position in the left boot. Apparently, my arches are not symmetrical and the left arch falls "funny". I usually compensate for this with my aftermarket insoles and I did that as well with the KEENs. These aftermarket insoles make heavier pack weights less burdensome.

The outsoles of the Marshalls did a great job of gripping on all surfaces and bend enough for me to feel I was in contact and control of the terrain, yet I didn't notice undue poking and prodding of debris and rocks on the trail. Thankfully, at the end of the day, I wasn't frantic to get the boots off - though I usually did - and only experienced that "ahh" feeling of a good day's tramp without the throbbing feeing of having pounded out miles/kilometers of dirt!

While backpacking in these boots this summer, I suffered no rain, so I made sure to stand for a full 1 minute in just-below-the-ankle deep water at Four Mile Creek. As long as the water did not exceed the height of the laces' eyelets, my feet remained nice and dry - freezing cold from the mountain stream, but dry! I could squeeze the water from the outer fabric, but the liner held nicely.

On descents of more than a 45 degree slope, I found that I have to re-lace the boots to achieve the ankle support that I feel I need and to stabilize my foot. If I don't make this adjustment, my left foot tends to slide uncomfortably forward. This doesn't cause my toes to bump into the boot toe, but it does result in a lack of control. As soon as the ground levels out, however, I loosen the bootlaces again a bit. A minor bother and one I experience with most other boots on downhill trails.

Overall, I'm happy to report that, quality-wise, the KEEN Marshall boots held up splendidly throughout these last four months. There are no torn spots, holes, broken threads or the like. The sole shows minimal wear and the laces have not even begun to fray, no less break.

KEEN recommends that the boots "be cleaned using mild soap and cold water and to remove excess dirt or spot clean using a stiff brush or soft cloth. Wet boots should be left to air dry away from heat." So far, all I've done is brushed the mud from the soles after getting them clogged up.

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) No break-in time needed. Comfortable right out of the box.
2.) Great ankle and arch support.
3.) Great tread and traction
4.) Love the color!

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Good Grief! I can't think of a single negative thing to say about these boots!

SUMMARY

After four solid months of wearing the KEEN Marshall boots almost daily, I can definitively say they are now in my list of favorite backpacking boots! They didn't require any break-in period and now seem to be practically molded to my feet. I love that these boots are so lightweight yet do not sacrifice ankle and arch support. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the Marshalls sport such an attractive color scheme! I think It's great fun to have a little flash of style in the woods!

Thank you, KEEN, Inc, for making boots I can live in!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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